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Efficient and Flexible Crude Oil processing technology for Oil Separation facilities

MORAD AMARZGUIOUI & PER CHRISTIAN JACOBSEN

Wärtsilä Oil & Gas Systems AS

The contents of this document are Wärtsilä’s intellectual property and shall be treated as confidential Information. This document
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ABSTRACT achieved by utilizing electro coalescence at an earlier stage by
use of a Vessel Internal Electrostatic Coalescer (VIEC).
Many challenges can be encountered when separating oil and
water in onshore and offshore production trains. Two of the The VIEC® technology was the OTC “Spotlight on new
Technology” award winner in 2004 and has since then been
most common challenges are the presence of stable
implemented on several major projects.
emulsions and/or high oil viscosities - both of which can limit
separation efficiency significantly if not appropriately Wärtsilä will discuss these benefits and how they can be
addressed. Production of heavy oil is becoming more the realized in existing and new process trains. Special emphasis
norm in today’s mature oil industry, where most of the light will be put on how laboratory studies can be used to make
and easy oil fields have been produced or are nearing their representative predictions of the separation benefits for
end-life. Similarly, stable emulsions are increasingly specific crude oils, and how to optimize the process based on
encountered as new wells and fields are tied-in to existing these studies. Important aspects that are considered in the
ones, which increases tendency to form stable emulsions due studies are the interplay of demulsifiers and electro
to incompatible chemical compositions. The conventional coalescence, scale differences between laboratory and field
solution to these challenges includes a combination of higher installation, static vs. dynamic separation tests, etc.
process temperatures, higher chemical dosages, larger vessels
and/or more separation stages. However, a significant A Case study for an offshore heavy oil field in Canada will be
drawback of the conventional solutions is that they often presented to enlighten these aspects.
demand increased energy consumption, higher material costs,
Wärtsilä is a technology provider that specializes in delivering
larger operating costs, and/or larger space for the production
solutions to enhance oil/water separation and optimize oil
facility. Furthermore, it is not always feasible to address the
treatment facilities. The core technology of Wärtsilä is based
issues by conventional means due to restricted energy
on patented advanced electrostatic internals. In addition,
availability or space restrictions.
laboratory services and detailed analyses are provided for
The presentation will focus on how electrostatic treatment of studying and optimizing the process, both with and without
water-in-oil emulsions can be used to debottleneck and the use of the technology.
optimize the separation processes. Conventional practice has
seen the use of electrocoalescence limited to the last stages
of the separation train, where there is a limited presence of
gas and water. However, significant process benefits can be

st
1 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. St.Johns, Newfoundland. Wednesday 1 of October 2014

We present the VIEC Many challenges can be encountered when separating oil and technology and how it can be used to optimize and water in a oil production train. depending on the characteristics of the external electrostatic field: It is seen quite often in the industry that oil separation trains fail to perform as designed. Often they 2. valves and pumps also add to stability of crude oil. The force does not cause direct attraction emulsions. St. the result is electrostatic fields in the same way as conventional a directional driving force that moves all droplets in a electrostatic coalescers to separate out the water by making given direction. Electrophoretic forces. emulsions droplets of produced water are normally electrically with high water content start to affect the performance neutral. Typical is a directional driving force that causes the charged conventional measures to address these issues are for droplets to move either parallel or anti-parallel to the example to apply more potent and larger dosages of imposed electrical field. Finally. Similarly. which increases tendency coalesce by application of an external electrostatic field. be categorized into three different types. Dielectrophoretic forces.Johns. thus Coalescer) technology developed by Wärtsilä Oil & Gas setting up a net force in the direction of the field Systems [1-6]. Break-up of water droplets due to shear forces industry for many years to separate produced water from in pipes. Electrical dipole-dipole forces. As for the electrophoretic forces. both of which can limit separation efficiency case study where VIEC technology is applied are presented. The electrostatic forces that act on the droplets can emulsions. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . electrically neutral droplets of a polarizable liquid due In this paper we present a more effective and cost-efficient to an external non-uniform electrical field. which lies at the heart of the VIEC technology. Typically 1. The variation in the electrical field over the droplets results solution is based on the VIEC (Vessel Internal Electrostatic in a non-uniform polarization of the droplet s. Newfoundland. The use of the principle of electrocoalescence. Unfortunately. These are forces that cause the separation trains produce oil to specification in the early motion due to a net charge of the droplets. These are forces that and to provide optimal conditions for separation. Note that st 2 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. a viscosities. But as the water cut increases. These are forces that act on also require significant capital cost investments.INTRODUCTION The principle of electrocoalescence. will be described. stable Electrocoalescence is the process where droplets of a first emulsions are increasingly encountered as new wells and liquid dispersed in a second continuous liquid are caused to fields are tied-in to existing ones. the droplets would have to be charged by an gradually. Production of heavy oil is becoming more the norm in today’s mature oil ELECTROCOALESCENCE industry. usually have a high impact on the operating costs. act on electrically neutral droplets of a polarizable The paper also discusses how separation performance can be liquid due to an external uniform electrical field. in heavy oil separation trains to resolve emulsion problems 3. significantly if not appropriately addressed. However. This to form stable emulsions due to incompatible chemical is a principle that has been applied very successfully in the oil compositions. Since life of the field. several force does not cause direct attraction between inventive steps make it especially well-suited for application droplets. these conventional measures between droplets. Spatial solution to the separation challenges discussed above. depending on the field gradient. until some sort of debottlenecking solution has to external source for this force to take effect. The VIEC technology applies high voltage gradient. where most of the light and easy oil fields have been produced or are nearing their end-life. opposite side has a negative surface charge. due to these challenges. The force be implemented to sustain the production. manifolds. Two of the most common debottleneck oil production trains together with Wärtsilä’s challenges are presence of stable emulsions and/or high oil framework for predicting separation performance. depending on the sign of the demulsifier and/or to apply a lot of heat to help break the charge. The predicted in a consistent and representative way by external field polarizes the droplets so that one side of combining detailed laboratory analyses with separation tests the droplets has a positive surface charge while the and in-house developed scaling laws.

Fr and Fθ are the radial and sides of a droplet attract the oppositely charged sides tangential components of the induced electrostatic forces. we can get an idea 3 3 Fθ = −12πγ ε 0ε c E 2 r r sin (2θ ) 2 1 2 (2) of the typical electrostatic collision time scale. ε0 is the electrical considerably compared to normal gravity separation. together under the influence of an electric field. causing adjacent particles to attract to each erecting an effective electrostatic force between the droplets other thereby greatly facilitating droplet growth. We define this as the mean electrostatic collision time Tc Assuming that the distance s between neighboring droplets is larger than the droplet radii r. since droplet-droplet interactions. the net charge of the whole droplet remains zero. r1 and r2 are the radii of two st 3 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. This Since the electrical dipole-dipole forces give rise to direct requirement is fulfilled for a dispersion of water-in-oil. forces behind electrostatic coalescence. This neighboring droplets. E0 is the average value of the external electrostatic field. relative oil permittivity of 2.0 kV/cm. St. where the positively and negatively charged relative to the electrostatic field. E θ Fθ s The drag force is described by Stokes’ drag law: ÷ + Fd = 6πµrv (4) ÷ r11 + ÷ + ÷ + ÷ + where µ is the viscosity of the continuous phase and v is the velocity of the droplets. permittivity of vacuum. ÷ r + ÷ 2 + ÷ + The attractive forces will be opposed by drag forces Fd acting ÷ +   Fr on the droplets due to the viscosity of the continuous phase. The forces can be written as [7.  5  dipole force between the droplets can be calculated using a Tc = 8 µ  π  3 − 1  6φ   (5) 15 ε cγ 2 E 2 point dipole approximation.3. Fr = 12πγ 2ε 0ε c E0 (1) 2 1 2 2 4 s Inserting typical values for the constants. while water has a relative permittivity in the range of 55-80 depending on temperature. relative water permittivity of 60 and electrical field where the dielectric force factor γ is defined as strength of 2. To arrive at this expression we have assumed that the droplets are (3 cos θ − 1) 3 3 r r aligned with the external electrical field. The axis between the droplets forms an angle of θ droplets. We assume 0 4 s water cut of 40%. 8] where ϕ0 is the initial fraction of emulsified water. This corresponds to γ = (3) approximately 1000 droplet-droplet collisions per second. (5) gives a collision time of εd − εc approximately 0. they are the primary driving crude oils have a relative permittivity in the range of 2-3. Newfoundland. this force acts directly between From these expressions we see that a pre-requisite for droplets. Eq.9 milliseconds. As opposed to the first two types of forces. of neighboring droplets.Johns. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . is that the electric permittivity of the dispersed phase is significantly higher than for the continuous phase. viscosity of 20 cP. the induced attractive dipole. Figure 1: Force components of induced dipole-dipole forces between two neighboring droplets of radii r1 and r2 Assuming balance between the forces we can calculate the separated by a distance s forming and angle θ relative to time it takes to bring two droplets with identical radii the external electrostatic field E. ε d + 2ε c The greatly enhanced collision frequency due to the electrical and εd and εc are the relative electrical permittivities of the field increases the likelihood of droplet-droplet coalescence dispersed and continuous phases. Figure 1 shows an illustration of  0   the induced dipoles in the droplets and force components. and s is the distance between the gives rise to attractive dipole-dipole forces between droplets.

The force inside and outside the separator. 18µ the dispersed water droplets sediment with a terminal velocity that is proportional to the square of the droplet diameter d. the elements are installed between normal where they act as either a dehydrator and/or desalter. 10].Johns. A patented solution which expressions Eq. individual element. Unlike conventional electrostatic st 4 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. Since Figure 2: A single VIEC element consisting of an active the sedimentation velocity is proportional to the square of electrode and an internal transformer inside a single the droplet size and only inversely proportional to the continuous mold. Due to these limitations. The advantages of electrostatic treatment are especially pronounced for heavy crudes. the benefits of electrostatic coalescence can be ∆ρgd 2 . where high levels of water and gas will be system which distributes a low voltage power feed to each present. presence of gas.An additional advantage of applying electrostatic dipole. As a result of this. the greatly enhanced droplet growth provided by electrostatic treatment will lead to significantly faster sedimentation and ultimately to faster separation. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . The VIEC limited tolerance for water content in the inlet stream and system can be installed in any conventional three phase zero tolerance for presence of gas. Also visible in the figures is a cable conduit separation trains. coalescers. electrodes and high voltage internal power distribution. no bridging can occur between the electrodes. Newfoundland. The elements are installed inside a production VIEC TECHNOLOGY separator in a modular manner in one or several walls of modules mounted in cassettes. Thus. This causes stretching of the droplets. St. both as a new-build and as a retrofit. (1) and (2) show that the magnitude of the makes use of fully insulated electrodes and internal force increases very strongly when the droplets are close to transformers that are integrated into the VIEC electrodes each other. due to use of bare separator. which overcomes card supplies two VIEC elements. vs = (6) implemented in any three-phase separator. since they tend to have relatively high viscosity at the process temperatures. conventional electrocoalescer Figure 3 and Figure 4 show a typical VIEC wall inside a three- technology is not suitable for use in the early stages of phase separator. However. the positive effect of enhanced droplet growth due to electrostatic treatment will in most cases far outweigh the The VIEC system is made up of elements consisting of single adverse effect of increased viscosity. The interface level (NIL) and normal liquid level (NLL). The VIEC elements are supplied with a low-voltage high-frequency AC field by external VIEC Wärtsilä Oil & Gas Systems has developed the Vessel Internal frequency converter cards. mostly limited to the very last stages of the process train. The low voltage feed is transformed to high conventional application of electrocoalescence has been voltage in transformers molded inside each element. the separator shell. the VIEC technology tolerates any water cut and According to Stokes’ sedimentation law. where oil- reason for this is that conventional electrocoalescers have continuous emulsion is expected to be present. The VIEC elements are Electrocoalescence has been used in the industry for many energized by a low voltage feed penetrating through the years to separate oil and water [9. Normally. making locally to the volume treated by the VIEC electrodes and that coalescence much more likely than in a conventional process. viscosity. these limitations. the VIEC technology uses fully insulated dipole forces is that they also facilitate binary coalescence electrodes with a low voltage (220V) power distribution both once the droplets are brought together. This means that by using the VIEC technology. vertical electrodes cast in a specialized insulating material (see Figure 2). Each VIEC frequency converter Electrostatic Coalescer (VIEC) technology. which means that the high voltage electrostatic field is contained destabilizes the surface films surrounding them.

st 5 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. Thus. As discussed above. Demulsifier HP Gas LP Gas Oil Coalescer Heating Heating Figure 5: Typical separation train for processing crude oil. OIL PRODUCTION WITH VIEC TECHNOLOGY However. The first stage gravity separator more difficult it is to separate water emulsified in an oil- targets to remove most of the free water. the limit is around 15-20%. Normally the separation train is designed droplets in the oil continuous phase. properties). Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . The outlet stream from the second stage is then fed to one stage (dehydrator) or two stages (dehydrator and desalter) with conventional electrostatic coalescers. Newfoundland. there is a significant risk that a conventional gravity separation scheme fails to produce to the required specifications. Since gravity second stage gravity separator. meaning that presence of free water is very likely. This exceeds significantly the limit for inlet water cut to the conventional electrostatic coalescers. St. The heavier the crude oil. due to overloading of the conventional electrostatic coalescers downstream. there can still be significant amounts pressure stage gravity separator. a second stage low pressure of water present in the outlet streams in the form of gravity separator and a conventional electrostatic coalescer emulsified water. Normally. The first two stages are normally not designed to of an emulsion (depending on inlet water cut and crude oil remove emulsified water. making them much so that most of the free gas and free water is removed in the more difficult to separate out. conventional electrostatic coalescers downstream can work as designed. Note that heavy crude oils have an important for fields where the water cut is starting to get inversion point ranging from typically 40% up to 50%. the first and second stages. The conventional electrostatic coalescers will apply a high voltage electrostatic field to separate the remaining emulsified water droplets and achieve oil quality specification. even if the gravity separators are successful in Traditional oil separation trains consist typically of a first high removing all free water. conventional electrostatic coalescers do not tolerate presence of any gas in the inlet stream and they have a limit for how much water can be contained in the inlet stream. the two stages of this means that the oil outlet stream from the gravity gravity separation are sufficient to remove all free water and separators can contain as much as 40-50% water in the form free gas. depending on Figure 3: VIEC wall inside a separator. Any means that an oil-continuous phase can contain emulsified carry-over of free water from the first stage is removed in the water with water cuts of up to 40-50%. they remove only free water. This is water that is dispersed in tiny unit (see Figure 5).Johns. BS&W and salinity specification. This high. Typically. This places strict demands on the gravity separators upstream to achieve optimal operation of the separation train: They have to Figure 4: Three-phase separator with VIEC system evacuate all gas and also remove enough water so that the installed. Free gas is removed from the separators do not normally separate out emulsified water. crude oil phase in both stages. This is especially continuous phase.

ensuring that the separation train produces to specification. By this. Typical increasing the size of the production train due to the use of VIEC technology in a oil separation train sees it increased separation efficiency offered by the VIEC installed in the first and/or second stage three-phase technology. The stages address different aspects of the separation time of the oil phase will be reduced accordingly. this allows to bring the principle of removing emulsion bands (see Figure 6) electrocoalescence upstream in the separation train to treat the emulsion issues efficiently where they arise. By combining these. several operational benefits are provided. the required retention stages. Since the main function of VIEC is to The laboratory scope of the framework consists of three increase water droplet sizes. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . in the first stages where the water content is high. heat capacity that is twice as high as crude oil.Johns. The framework involves comprehensive sufficiently of surfactants to allow direct contact crude specific laboratory tests combined with in-house scale- between the droplets. • The production rate can be increased without In addition. the need When optimizing or debottlenecking a separation process it is for a demulsifier is usually not removed completely. the time required for droplets to Furthermore. it allows Wärtsilä to guarantee the separation sediment out of an emulsion is inversely proportional efficiency even with presence of stable emulsions. Since the VIEC system tolerates any water cut and • Level control can be improved by reducing or presence of gas. a small dosage of a suitable representative predictions of separation performance with demulsifier is often required to clean the interfaces VIEC technology. St. According to Stokes’ fitted to the challenges encountered in the specific field. the VIEC technology can also offer additional operational and economic benefits: • The significantly increased droplet growth rates provided by the VIEC technology means that the emulsions can often be treated efficiently at higher viscosities than conventionally. sedimentation law. Newfoundland. the crude can be obtained. • Separator sizes can be reduced compared to This allows Wärtsilä to propose solutions that are custom- conventionally sized separators.By applying VIEC technology the risks can be mitigated. separators. This allows for reduction in process temperature. the water content of the outlet streams from these separators can be reduced to values that can be processed efficiently in the conventional electrostatic coalescer downstream. process. important for the operator to have confidence that the Although the electrostatic forces give rise to frequent proposed measures will yield the required benefits. Thus. more consistent and the separator size can be reduced without representative prediction of the separation performance of compromising the oil quality. Note that since water has a without VIEC (upper panel) and with VIEC (lower panel). However. to the square of the size of the droplets in the emulsion. To this droplet-droplet collisions and they help destabilize the end. In addition to resolving emulsion problems and providing optimal conditions for processing crude oils. Wärtsilä has developed a framework for consistent and interfaces of the droplets. the A significant improvement in interface development is energy savings can be especially high by applying VIEC visible with VIEC compared to without VIEC. up laws for predicting separation performance at full scale. with corresponding Figure 6: Screenshots showing level profile readings savings in heating energy. • Demulsifier dosages are often reduced significantly PREDICTING SEPARATION PERFORMANCE when VIEC technology is applied. st 6 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology.

density and dielectric parameters as a function of The final stage consists of flow loop tests (See Figure 8 for a temperature. The size separator. However. To scale up the test results from the flow loop tests in a consistent way we must first identify the relevant physical processes governing separation efficiency. The results from these erected by the field will dominate over the other droplet- droplet forces. Since flow loop performed. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 .The most relevant propensity of the crude towards forming stable emulsions is conditions identified based on the characterization and batch investigated qualitatively by generating synthetic emulsions separation tests are tested under more representative with different shear rates. emulsions with an average droplet size corresponding to a pre-identified target value specific to the crude and field conditions. small scale batch separation tests are the separation benefits of the technology. Then separation performance in a full size separator can be Figure 7: Setup for performing batch tests. we express these in scale-invariant forms by defining appropriate dimensionless groups of the relevant physical parameters. Figure 7 shows some of the equipment used for the batch tests Figure 8: Flow loop test set up consisting of a reservoir for mixing oil and water and a separation cell equipped with VIEC technology.Johns. the results The two main physical processes which dictate separation obtained from these cannot be extrapolated directly to a full. These include viscosity. performance are coalescence and sedimentation. Synthetic emulsions are generated by tests allow for dynamic development of the flow in a similar recombining dry crude oil with produced water using a high. Separability of the emulsions is tested at different conditions. Important parameters that are varied in the batch separation tests are temperature. assuming that an appropriate st 7 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. The reason for this is that there are several process of coalescence is generally quite complicated and can important dynamic effects that are absent in a static test. flowing conditions. water cut. the results can be used for scale- shear stator-rotor mixer. stability and separation efficiency. demulsifier type and dosage and electrostatic treatment time. Newfoundland. Due to the static nature of the batch tests. including a inferred from flow loop tests by designing the loop test so fixture for subjecting emulsions to an electrostatic that the values of the dimensionless parameters match with treatment (left) and devices for generating emulsions and measuring droplet size distributions (right) the full size separator. which quantifies tests are therefore only used for qualitative considerations physical and chemical parameters relevant to emulsion and serve as input to the next stage of the testing. fashion to a field separator. Emulsions are analyzed in microscope and picture of the flow loop test setup).The first stage is crude oil characterization. St. The tests are performed both with and without application of VIEC in order to compare and quantify In the next stage. Thus. These include presence of turbulence. in most cases not be described by a simple force expression. shear and flow re. Next. The emulsion droplet sizes are verified using a Visual Particle Analyzer from Jorin [11]. The shear rate is adjusted to obtain up to the full separator size. when electrostatic fields are applied the forces entrainment of the smallest droplets.

The behavior of the two used for both studies. that a suitable demulsifier treatment is used. α=  5    π 3  (7) µ   − 1  6φ   0   Figure 9: Relative separation for tests at two different For the process of sedimentation we can consider Stokes’ scales is shown as a function of the parameter α. Both energy consumption and size requirements were Figure 9 illustrates the scale invariance of the two considered to an issue due to lack of gas in the reservoir and parameters. As operator in the pre-FEED stage as a means of reducing the discussed above.Johns. while the other is performed in a larger Norway. superimposed in chart. we can divide the expression in Eq. The field will be processed in a stand- two dynamic separation processes regardless of scale. The studies showed that the temperature at the intermediate stage (medium pressure separator) could be reduced to 60 °C with VIEC technology and still achieve the target of 10% st 8 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. sedimentation law as defined in Eq. we can define the following dimensionless parameter α for electrostatic coalescence efficiency: t Eγ 2ε c E 2 . (6). Data from tests at two different scales are to the field in collaboration with a major chemicals vendor. Assuming that the droplets have to sediment a distance H to join the continuous water phase. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . the invariance assumes that the emulsions process temperature at the intermediate stage of the are treated with a sufficiently strong electrostatic field and separation train as well as reducing the size of the separator. One study was performed in a location close be neglected. The case relates to a new field development with restrictions on process temperature t R ∆ρgd 2 . Newfoundland. The behavior is consistent with scale invariance. (1) will be dimensioning with respect to coalescence time. One set of tests is performed in The other study was performed in Wärtsilä’s laboratory in Wärtsilä’s flow loop. the mean electrostatic coalescence time defined in Eq. we obtain a second dimensionless parameter β tests have been conducted to optimize a oil separation train for sedimentation efficiency: with VIEC technology. as long alone platform. β= (8) µH Case : API 20 crude – Energy savings and size reductions Invariance with respect to the parameters α and β means that The case relates to development of a heavy oil offshore field the BS&W value at the oil outlet will remain the same for any located in Canada. Oil available from drilling of a previous well was test separator on the same crude. performance of a crude oil as a function of the electrostatic Two studies were performed by Wärtsilä to evaluate the droplet growth parameter α for tests where variation in β can benefits of VIEC. which is consistent with invariance. (6) with H to CASE STUDY obtain an average sedimentation time. The VIEC technology was evaluated by the as the values of the parameters are kept the same. Dividing the mean electrostatic coalescence time with electrostatic treatment time tE. so that mechanical barriers towards coalescence have been minimized. Dividing this expression again with total retention time available in the In the following we describe a case study where laboratory separator tR. The figure shows plots of relative separation cost of space in a platform. different data sets as a function of α is statistically indistinguishable. St.demulsifier treatment has been used together with the electrostatic treatment. and/or size of process equipment.

Wärtsilä’s displayed results are from batch tests and the values are VIEC technology utilizes fully insulated electrodes with low- therefore only indicative. the VIEC technology represents an important separation train. electrocoalescence is highly efficient in An additional important conclusion of the study was that the breaking emulsions. The laboratory studies combine characterization with static batch separation tests and dynamic flow loop tests to evaluate and quantify the separation performance of the crude under various process conditions. voltage power distribution and can tolerate water cuts and gas content up to 100%.BS&W.Johns. on separation results obtained from flow loop tests. The temperatures initially considered during pre-FEED potential presence of stable emulsions. The benefits of applying VIEC technology in oil separation trains. the length electrocoalescence in the first and or second stage separator. The enhanced separation efficiency provided by without VIEC. allowing for a rapid and effective droplet growth. The process happens very described above.5m. Furthermore. characteristics of the crude can change over the production life of the field. heating. significantly lower temperatures than with gravity separation only. The scaling laws are only applied tests of API 20 crude with and without VIEC at 60 °C. The results show significant savings in quickly. The scaling laws are based on the two dimensionless parameters α and β formulated by Wärtsilä. The and can therefore not be used for this purpose. In addition to the energy savings. thus significantly reducing the risk of separation efficiency was much less dependent on type of excessive water carry-over due to presence of stable demulsifier used when VIEC was applied compared to emulsions. Early stage application of electrocoalescence requires electrostatic technology that can tolerate and function with Figure 10 illustrates the significant improvements in high water cuts and presence of gas. St. This is due to high crude oil viscosities and tool for resolving emulsion problems and optimizing oil st 9 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. By applying stage were in the range of 80-90 °C. Furthermore. Use of high-voltage electrostatic fields is a very effective The case study presented in this report demonstrates the method of separating water-in-oil emulsions. allowing most of the water can be separated out efficiently at for considerable space savings. This gave the operator additional confidence electrocoalescence can also be used to reduce the size of with regards to robustness of the separation process as the three-phase separators or increase production rate. Scaling laws are then applied to infer separation performance at field conditions from the laboratory tests. separator sizes were also reduced significantly. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 . electrostatic fields polarize water droplets causing them to The study is based on a comprehensive laboratory study as attract to each other and coalesce. These two parameters represent scale invariant measures of the separation effect of electrostatic droplet Figure 10: Chart displaying separation results of batch growth and sedimentation. Conventional separation efficiency at 60 °C when VIEC is applied with electrostatic coalescers utilize bare or composite electrodes respectively 8 and 15 seconds of exposure time. Wärtsilä relies on crude specific laboratory studies. For oil separation trains there are significant benefits of applying electrocoalescence at an early stage in the In summary. of the separator was reduced from 29m to 21. Newfoundland. This makes the technology ideal for use in three-phase separators for early stage application of electrocoalescence. This is to take into account important dynamic effects when predicting CONCLUSIONS separation performance. To predict separation performance and quantify benefits of VIEC technology.

[3] Kvilesjø. 61 (1965) 51-57. L. W “A holistic solution for compact oil treatment separation systems”. Eng. paper β = Invariant sedimentation rate parameter presented at the 2006 Offshore Technology εc = Relative electrical permittivity of continuous phase Conference 1-4 May 2006. IChemE A 74 (1996) 526-540 Fd = Drag force on droplets [11] http://www.jorin. M. and Hamid. paper OTC 16321 presented at the 2004 Offshore Technology Conference. And by performing appropriate laboratory Enhancing Heavy Oil Separation and Improving studies and combining these with scale-up laws.Johns.. et al. E. [5] T.: ”VIEC® (Vessel Internal Electrostatic Coalescer) . September 1-2. AC = Alternating current [9] Waterman. et al. B. United Kingdom.A Proven Technology For st 10 Recent Advances in Offshore Technology. Newfoundland. A. Chem.S. Aberdeen. E = Electrical field strength [10] Taylor. SPE Paper Number (136836-PP) [2] Wolff. [4] Mosland A.. Electrostatic enhancement of tE =Electrostatic exposure time coalescence of water droplets in oil: a review of the tR = Total retention time current understanding. T. St. paper presented at the separation benefits can be quantified in advance and a 2005 Advances in Multiphase Separation and Multiphase Pumping Technologies Conference. SPE 156087 γ = Dielectric force factor [7] Chiesa M.separation trains. M. εd = Relative electrical permittivity of dispersed phase [6] Al Qahtani. Houston.: “Subsea separation process qualified for heavy oils (17°API)”. Eng. J. May 3-6. S.co. and Knutsen. 84 (2001). Brazil. paper presented at the 2005 Deep Offshore Technology Conference and Exhibition. J. Chem. et al. Wednesday 1 of October 2014 .854E-12 F/m) Technology (VIEC). Electrical coalescers. Vessel Internal Electrostatic Coalescer ε0 = Electrical permittivity of vacuum (8. Theory and practice of electrically- Fr = Radial component of electrostatic force enhanced phase separation of water-in-oil Fθ = Tangential component of electrostatic force emulsions.: Forces acting on water droplets µ = Viscosity of continuous phase (oil) falling in oil under the influence of an electric field: ϕ0 = Ratio of water emulsified in oil numerical predictions versus experimental g = Gravitational acceleration constant observations. B-Fluid 24 (2005) 717– d = Diameter of dispersed water droplets 732 r = Radius of dispersed water droplets [8] Eow. USA. vs = Sedimentation velocity 173. November 8-10. E. A. J. A. L. the Produced Water Quality”. Espirito Santo. Vitoria.. Trans. Mech. Texas.. Novel Coalescer Technology in NOMENCLATURE First Stage Separator Enables One-Stage Separation α = Invariant electrostatic droplet growth parameter and Heavy-Oil Separation. Fjeldly et al. OTC 18278. performance guarantee can be given. BS&W = Basic Sediment and Water Progr.C. p..uk/technology/ H = Settling height of emulsion ID = Internal diameter of separator T/T = TAN to TAN length of separator Tc = Electrostatic collision time VIEC = Vessel Internal Electrostatic Coalescer® REFERENCES [1] Chiesa.: “Advanced electrostatic internals in the 1st stage separator enhance oil/water separation and reduce chemical consumption on the Troll C platform”.E. Eur. et al.